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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 19 May 1993) . . Page.. 1577 ..


Debate resumed from 16 December 1992, on motion by Mr Humphries:

That the following temporary order operate for the remainder of this Assembly:

Answers to questions on notice

118A.          If a Minister does not answer a question on notice (including a question taken on notice during questions without notice) asked by a Member, within 30 days of the asking of that question, and does not, within that period, provide to the Member who asked the question an explanation satisfactory to that Member of why an answer has not yet been provided, then:

(a)          at the conclusion of questions without notice on any day after that period, the Member may ask the relevant Minister for such an explanation; and

(b)          the Member may, at the conclusion of the explanation, move without notice "That the Assembly takes note of the explanation"; or

(c)          in the event that the Minister does not provide an explanation, the Member may, without notice, move a motion with regard to the Minister's failure to provide either an answer or an explanation.

MS FOLLETT (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (11.09): Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I seek leave of the Assembly to speak again on this matter.

Leave granted.

MS FOLLETT: I thank members. The last time I spoke on this motion of Mr Humphries's I indicated that the Government did not wish to support it because basically we believed that it was unnecessary. If you look at recent numbers of questions on the notice paper, I think that view is reinforced. By my count there are some 74 questions on the notice paper today and it seems to me that eight of them appeared for the first time today. Of the remaining 66 questions which are unanswered, there are some 13 which are over a month old. I think that, given that many of those questions are complex, that is not a bad record. I would put forward to members that, in terms of answering questions in a timely fashion, the Government has made every effort to do just that, and has achieved it in the overwhelming majority of cases.

What we are dealing with here is not a pattern of failure to answer questions; it is rather an attempt by Mr Humphries to score some political points out of the process of questions on notice. If you look carefully at Mr Humphries's motion, there is clearly an intention on his part to put Ministers under the spotlight, to attempt to embarrass them, to, I think unreasonably, politicise the question and answer process. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, it is a fact, when you look

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